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Nelson Mandela Quote“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. He is pictured with his clenched fist raised high to salute and express unity and strength. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. The first lesson is that it takes more than a single heroic leader at the top to change the trajectory of an institution, or a nation. Even with one of the world’s most courageous and charismatic leaders at the helm, it takes more than a single generation to move the majority of a population from poverty to middle class. Although he is revered today (and rightly so) as the most important leader of the anti-apartheid struggle, I doubt Mandela will be remembered in history as a great transformer, simply because he failed to deliver social and economic rights to the majority of the people. His legacy will be tainted by the culture of greed and corruption rampant within the ANC at most levels today. The fact is, when he stepped down from office and eventually left politics, the institutions Nelson Mandela lead became less.
General H Norman Schwarzkopf once defined leadership as a potent combination of strategy and character but, he said, if you ever have to be without one, be without the strategy. Such dubious strategies and decisions could easily have led to Mandela’s political undoing and fall from grace, but his strength of character as a leader more than made up for occasional lapses of judgement.
Yet, individual qualities, skills and exemplary character in a leader, however exceptional, are never enough to transform a nation, nor any large institution.
Nelson Mandela played his role magnificently and we can learn great lessons from his life, but now it’s time for a new generation of leaders to emerge, leaders willing and motived to empower and develop other leaders to confront corruption and transform institutions for good.
Lucy Brazier is CEO of Marcham Publishing, specialist publishers of Executive Secretary – a global training magazine dedicated to the professional development needs of senior and aspiring administrative professionals.
As editor of the magazine, Lucy campaigns tirelessly for the recognition of the Assistant role as a profession, speaking regularly to everyone from Blue Chip Executive Assistants on why it is important to become a centre of excellence within your company, to college students on choosing the role of the Assistant as a career choice. Lucy runs a LinkedIn group for assistants which currently has over 37,000 international members who share information, network and learn. A sought after trainer in her own right, Lucy regularly speaks at and chairs conferences & webinars all over the world. She collaborates with trainers including Susie Barron-Stubley, Sue France, Julie Perrine, Melba Duncan, Dewoun Hayes, Eth Lloyd, Dr.
When he passed away on Friday the depth of sorrow that I felt was as if I had lost a much loved family member.  As a teenager growing up in the 1980’s I was heavily involved in the anti-apartheid movement.
These lessons have been poignantly captured in Richard Stengel’s book, ‘Mandela’s Way, Lessons on Life’.  I first read this book around three years ago and after Mandela’s death on Friday, returned to it again. Within his book Stengel identified fifteen essential life lessons based upon Mandela’s life.
As a school leader this can be a refreshing perspective on courage.  As you know that when you lead a school tests arise in various shapes and sizes on a daily basis. Mandela knew what he believed in and what he was prepared to die for.  His principles were that which gave him his moral authority. As a school leader, if you wish to be seen as authentic a leader as Mandela, then you must know what you stand for; what your values are and how they influence your words and actions.
Mandela recognised that, especially in times of adversity, the human spirit needs a space in which renewal and personal reflection are possible.
This is  for me such a powerful lesson from Mandela’s life,  we all need time to ourselves.
So learn from Mandela’s example, learn to take time ‘away from the world’ and give back to yourself.
What lessons can small businesses, entrepreneurs, managers and business leaders in the workplace learn from Mandela? Mandela served over 27 years in prison for leading a campaign against the apartheid government and attempting to abolish racial inequality in South Africa. After being imprisoned unjustly for more than 27 years and despite facing countless assassination attempts for pursing his goals, Mandela acted nonviolently and even forgave the government that stole 27 years of life.
Lesson Learned: It does not matter what happens around you or what happens to you, all that matters is what happens inside you and how you respond to what happens to you.


Great politicians have much to offer corporate and world leaders who face apparently insurmountable odds in bringing about change.
The way Nelson Mandela navigated his unique place in politics has lessons for corporate and political leaders everywhere. John Carlin first met the African leader in 1990, on the day Mandela was released from 27 years in prison.
John Carlin and Paddy Miller talk about Mandela’s leadership genius at a CPA Congress business lunch in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. As a business management specialist, Miller says that Mandela’s life is a powerful case study in how effective leadership can change minds and achieve outcomes against apparently insurmountable odds. Now Carlin and Miller are bringing those lessons to political and corporate leaders around the world, including in appearances at CPA Congress later this year. Miller and Carlin say Mandela combined an unwavering personal vision with a willingness to find common ground with seemingly irreconcilable opponents. While Mandela was willing to compromise sometimes, to the dismay of his ANC supporters, he never veered from his overall objectives.
For Carlin and Miller, Mandela’s drive towards unity and consensus was the hallmark of his leadership genius. A key element of Mandela’s success was his understanding of the power of symbols and his ability to turn them to advantage. Here are some important dates and events in the life of former South African President and anti-apartheid fighter Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday aged 95 today. July 18, 1918 - Born Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela near Qunu, in Transkei (now Eastern Cape), the youngest son of a counsellor to the chief of his Thembu clan.1944 - Founds African National Congress (ANC) Youth League with Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu. Time, 1990: In this July 2 1990 issue of Time, a magazine in which only the celebrated and controversial are displayed, Mandela is pictured addressing a Detroit crowd during his visit in June 1990, four months after his release.
Time, 1993: Yitzhak Rabin, Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk and Yasser Arafat were on the cover of the January 3 1993 cover of Time magazine. He was the country's first black chief executive, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.
To transform a nation (or any large enterprise for that matter), inspiring leaders, who accept absolute personal responsibility for transforming themselves, their work, their community and the Nation are needed at every level, not only at the top. Many studies show that black South Africans are actually worse off economically now than they were under apartheid. Mandela can’t be blamed directly for that culture, but he can be criticised for not speaking out as senior ANC figures enriched themselves at the expense of the poorest in South Africa.
With access to the most forward thinking, passionate and knowledgeable trainers in the world as well as personally meeting and speaking to literally thousands of Assistants over the last four years, Lucy’s knowledge of the market and what Assistants all over the world are facing on a day to day basis are second to none. She also launched adminchat in January 2012 – a weekly free training session presented on Twitter and hosted by a different world class trainer every week.
In the last year alone, as Global Brand Ambassador for the International Year of the Secretary and Assistant, she spoke in 26 countries at 173 events. Monica Seeley, Marsha Egan, Vickie Sokol Evans, Heather Baker and Bonnie Low Kramen as well as organisations including Pitman, OfficeTeam & Hays.
Indeed there are so many lessons to be learnt from the way in which Mandela sought to unite a nation that had been so cruelly violated by the atrocities of apartheid.
From those fifteen, I have identified three that I believe are essential for those who are in school leadership positions. To know or, at least to begin to accept that you have a choice in terms of how you deal with difficult circumstances can be empowering. They were his inner compass that ensured that all of his words, actions and behaviours were aligned with his deeply held values and beliefs.
Mandela found this space when he created his garden on Robben Island,  a space in which he could cultivate and grow another side of him; a space in which he could simply be and find himself again. Not only will you become a better person as a result, but you will become a better leader too. Nelson Mandela has inspired millions of people all over the world, but more importantly he gave the world an example of authentic leadership and demonstrated the potential and capacity of the human spirit. Below are two key qualities that have forever cemented Nelson Mandela in the history of the world.


John Carlin and Paddy Miller, who knew Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) leadership well, say Mandela united a nation and changed the face of Africa forever.
At the time Carlin had only recently arrived in South Africa as bureau chief for the UK’s Independent newspaper, but over the next five years he met with Mandela often.
The latter, which focused on the events of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, was later made into the movie Invictus. How do you persuade somebody to take on a third point of view that might enable you to assist them in shifting to a position whereby you can negotiate?
His support for the South African rugby team, the Springboks, in the 1995 World Cup was a turning point on the path to reconciliation. The issue questioned whether South Africa could stay on the course of reconciliation that Mandela began after Mbeki took over as state president.
M, le Magazine du Monde, prides itself on iconic news, strong photographs and sophisticated iconography. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation. Great leaders develop great leaders, so that when they leave, the institution (or the nation) becomes more, not less.
His towering character often made up for some rather dodgy (to say the least) strategic choices. Boasting an average of over 2000 attendees a week, adminchat is a manifestation of Lucy’s commitment to providing the very best training to assistants all over the world. In 1996, when I was a young teacher in the London borough of Lambeth, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a group of pupils to hear him speak at Brixton Recreation Centre.
It can as Mandela clearly showed, moved one from the position of victim to that of the victor.
It is so terribly easy when you are a school leader to forget your own needs and to continually give to others. They had a daughter and two sons and were divorced in 1957.1952 - Mandela and others arrested and charged under the Suppression of Communism Act. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress party from 1991 to 1997. For all of his great successes, what Nelson Mandela failed to do was to develop leaders around him who were as big morally, or even bigger than he was.
Like Mandela, other great, charismatic leaders of the last century such as Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King can inspire us to towering heights personally, but they do not provide us with a useful template for institutional transformation.
His anti-apartheid convictions resulted in expulsions and continuous strife with school authorities. How Mandela’s wisdom, courage and humility had caused me to stop and reflect on who I was, both as a person and a leader.
But you are human and to carry on giving on the grand scale that most school leaders do is unsustainable. They can only be met by leaders with fierce resolve to tackle corruption and develop leaders who will make things happen at every level of every institution in the nation. Despite consistent misdemeanours he made it into law school, passed the bar and went on to establish the most successful black law firm in South Africa – an absolutely amazing feat in those days. The most important legacy of a great leader is to leave behind even greater leaders who continue on and take the institution to the next level.
He refused to succumb to the seductive pull of revenge and the politics of hatred that infected large parts of the anti-apartheid movement. As a consequence, South Africa was saved from a grizzly civil war that would have torn the nation apart. Many in South Africa celebrate Mandela Day with 67 minutes of public service to honour the 67 years Mandela served humanity.Sept. 1, 2013 - Mandela is discharged and returns home after spending 87 days in a Pretoria hospital.Dec.



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